Thursday, November 05, 2015

Creativity, Fear, and Making Mistakes

For the last week or so, there has been an underlying theme that seems to be popping up in the books I'm reading, the things I'm seeing on TV, and even casual conversations.  It's always interesting to take note when things come up again and again.  This theme is about what risk is involved in creativity, and how important it is to make mistakes along the way.

It can be scary to let your creativity out to share it with the world.  A "conversation" I reluctantly engaged in on the magazine's Facebook page this morning is a perfect illustration...
I shared something and included an opinion.
Out of nowhere, someone I wouldn't know from Adam pops up and starts making bizarre accusations and statements.  Eventually, she just had to be kicked to the curb, because it was of no value to anyone.
Of course that was chump change compared to the terror of releasing a new book, or a new issue of the magazine.  Still, I suppose there's some kind of lesson in there.  Somewhere.  I've been trying for years to understand the motivation behind that kind of thing.
Now I've been around for a loooong time.  If you remember the early days of internet with flame wars and shocking personal attacks, you know we all got our skin thickened if we wanted to play with the big kids.
But here's the thing.  I have made mistakes.  In the past (and surely in the future) it happens, and on those occasions I'm not afraid to take my licks.  It makes no sense to expend energy defending an invalid point or incorrect information.  Everybody makes mistakes.
What I've been getting from the theme of late, is that in order to grow, create, or stretch to that next great thing, we all have to take risks.  For some of us, it might be a public post, while for others it is putting out our artwork, our writing, our inventions... our ideas.  It's the only way.  You have to take that risk, and trust that it will work OR that the mistake won't kill you.
Now I wish that weren't the case.  I wish there weren't always people lurking around just waiting for someone to give them an opportunity to attack, but it seems to be some kind of aberration of human nature.
But don't let them get you. 
Know that there will be mistakes.  There must be mistakes.  Nothing can be learned without a few wrong turns along the way.
Understand that you will be afraid.  Let the fear guide, but not control.  Everyone is afraid.  It isn't easier for other people, they just do it anyway.
Another aspect (that doesn't really fit in here, but I think it's got some heft) is that often the more limited we are, the better our creativity is.  I'm rolling that thought around.  Thinking about the piece of art on my wall made from a scraped 55 gal oil drum lid, or hobo art, prison art, and things where people who had nothing created wonderful work.
Let your creative self out to play.  There isn't an artist, writer, actor, or inventor who hasn't been critiqued.  Perhaps the internet has made it harder for creatives, because now you have two choices - share your work and be a sitting duck, or never let your light shine.
In this ever-changing world, it's more important than ever to go ahead and shine.

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